Trans girls older than our 20s grew up at a time when ridiculing trans people or putting us in a bad light, such as in popular movies, was just part of the American cultural landscape, something that was done without challenge or question, often a cheap shot intended to be funny.
The concept of being trans as a serious and legitimate state of being was generally dismissed or not recognized until quite recently. When a girl looked feminine but had “outie” plumbing, many people would nevertheless insist on classifying her as a guy. The implications and possibilities of a female brain structure was dismissed or not even considered.
At a more positive level, by my standards, are people who are used to binary gender looks, and they simply find it puzzling when somebody looks androgynous. I personally don’t find that offensive. In my experience, many people also find androgynous looks to be very attractive. Being trans has its pros and cons, but all in all I’m happy with being trans. Even so, life is rarely simple or easy: every time I pick up the phone or step outside my front door, there’s the possibility of having to deal with cultural animosity, because I sound and look androgynous.
One of the things that I abandoned early on, as part of accepting that I’m trans — and living accordingly — is that if I let cultural animosity stop me, then I’m allowing hostile people more control over my life and happiness than they deserve. I have a lot of personal and commercial value to offer, and if someone appreciates me, they get the benefit of my involvement. If they don’t appreciate me, I like to then go find people who do. My approach tends to set me apart from some of the trans girls that I’ve observed, including some of my friends, who insist on being accepted and dealt with as they are. I think that such forward people have a place in the world, and in some ways, they are the minesweepers and the bulldozers that clear the way. Perhaps theirs is a fine approach, but it’s not an approach I choose to take. I have the attitude that, if somebody wants to deal with me, then it’s a privilege mutually. Then again, I had that attitude long before I came out as a trans girl.
If someone is nice to me then I’m much more inclined to go and spend my energy and/or money there. If they’re hostile to me, I’m very unlikely to do business with them, but it does depend on what my alternatives are.
Generally I try to win people over, to be an ambassadrix so that I exemplify how positive a trans girl can be. This way, whoever meets me has a positive experience. In the long run, that’s how the world becomes a better place, I think: through reason, benevolence, trade, and generally voluntary interaction to mutual gain.
Sometimes I’m valued as an individual even if someone neither understands nor accepts the concept of a trans girl. That’s still a nice victory for me. For example, I have a close friend who doesn’t seem to have put much time into pondering the concept of anybody being transgender nor is he particularly supportive of my journey nor hostile to it, but he’s a great friend. A few years ago, when my Jeep broke down on a hot summer day, in the Nevada desert, he was the one I called. He came and rescued me, and brought me water and got my Jeep towed back to town. His attitude is: “I don’t care what’s going on with you as to your trans girl thing, and I don’t have to accept it. You’re my friend. You’re there for me, I’m there for you, and we have well-earned mutual respect. That’s all that matters.” It’s hard for me to complain about that.
In the area where I live, people are mostly trans-friendly. Sometimes people seem awkward and then I take the initiative and just deal with them benevolently, human to human. More often than not, they mellow out and become very nice to me, in a sincere way. I love that. Even so, I’m probably not welcome everywhere, especially where there are large groups of young adult males in a macho environment. Such places, I tend to avoid preemptively, but other places are more subtle. When I’m not sure, I prefer to have some advance insight as to potential awkwardness, were I there.
For example, I’ve done part-time stripper (exotic dancer) work and I enjoy dancing as such. When I go to a LGBTQ friendly place like the Reno 5-Star saloon with its stage and two stripper poles, I’m in my element, as the picture on the left shows.
Even so, I can always learn more. My learning has until now consisted mostly of going to strip clubs and watching girls’ moves, which I enjoy since I’m attracted to girls, and then the learning is a nice bonus. But, a more formal class would be good.
There’s a pole dancing school semi-local to me, in Sparks, Nevada. I wanted to join up but me being a trans girl might make it awkward for some of the girls. So I wrote the school an email and sent a bunch of G-rated pictures. The email had words to the effect of: “Hi, I am Tanya, and here’s what I look like. I’m a trans girl and I’m interested in classes. If that’s cool, great and I’ll be there and spend my money.” I did not hear back from them, so either they don’t check their email or this is their way of saying “no thanks” which is as stark a “no” as I expected rather than an explicit “heck no, get lost.”
This place was an exception as to how I approach things. Generally I read the vibe of the place and then when I decide to proceed, I go for it, and I try hard to make things work out well. In the rare event that it doesn’t, that’s fine too. I’m resilient.
However, I have a cerebral, shy friend who is also a trans girl, and she was visiting me for two days. So, to her intended benefit, I was a little more proactive as a minesweeper, so to speak. She was planning on getting some facial hair removal work done so that she can looks aesthetically more like the girl she is, brain-structure wise. (Imagine a tall, leggy, slender, pretty red-head girl … with a 5 o’clock shadow. That last part detracts). So, I found her a local laser place called Lighthouse Laser. They seemed competent, and I wrote them an email, explaining that I’m a trans girl, and I’d like to bring them a trans girl client, but only if we’d be welcome because I was only planning to spend my money there if they were trans friendly.
I got a super- nice email from Darity Openshaw, the laser tech lady, saying we’d be most welcome. I took my friend there and indeed she was treated very nicely as was I. Not just is Darity nice, but she also exudes competence, and clearly enjoys her work. I suspect my friend will be back for many more laser treatments in the future, since she’s planning on moving here.
“Here” is Fallon, Nevada – a small-town community east of Reno. I’d guess that more than half the vehicles on the road are pickup trucks and it seems to be a pretty rednecky place, at first glance — but people are super-nice to me. Even so, I’m clear not everyone here is trans friendly. I do like that such people are a tiny and avoidable slice of the population. The local police are well aware of me and they seem, if anything, extra protective of me and my property. I feel almost as if I’m their little sister and they’re protecting me. I love that.
As more and more trans girls learn that it’s safe to show ourselves, it’s becoming apparent how common a genetic mutation being trans actually is, and so it’s great that for people with dark hair (as in not me, I’m blonde) this laser place is a great trans-friendly option. A nice conceptual conversation with Darity the laser tech lady took things a step further too as to enlightening me, so by now I’m clear they’re not just trans friendly but LGBTQ friendly in general. I love that, and I endorse Lighthouse Laser heartily.
So, evidently, does my friend, who’s a nerd-girl genius including on lasers. She liked being treated nicely but she also had nice things to say about the technical merits of Darity’s work.
Their website is at http://www.fallonlaser.com/